Science has spoken: ending a text with a full stop makes you a monster

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Ending your text messages with a full stop, science has confirmed, is against God and against nature. A Binghamton University research team found that text messages ending in the most final of punctuation marks – eg “lol.”, “let’s go to Nando’s.”, “send nudes.” – are perceived as being less sincere.

On the flip side, texts ending in an exclamation point – “lmao!”, “just a cheeky one!”, “what body part even is that? I hope it’s your arm!” – are deemed heartfelt, more profound. Yes: the high revolving sound you hear is the rules of English grammar spinning up to G-force speed in the grave in which they lay, but otherwise this seems like a win. Full stops on the ends of text messages are proven to be exclusively for either the psychotic or dads with new Nokias.

According to research leader, Celia Klin, the perception comes from us desperately trying to find context in the thin clues of a sparse text message. “Texting is lacking many of the social cues used in actual face-to-face conversations,” Klin said. “When speaking, people easily convey social and emotional information with eye gaze, facial expressions, tone of voice, pauses and so on. People obviously can’t use these mechanisms when they are texting. Thus, it makes sense that texters rely on what they have available to them – emoticons, deliberate misspellings that mimic speech sounds and, according to our data, punctuation.”

But with text messaging one of the most frequently used methods of – and this term hurts – “computer-mediated communication”, it’s probably time we thrashed out the nuances of punctuation usage, and decided once and for all which is right and which is wrong. For instance: anyone who puts a nose in a smiley face needs to sign a register kept securely by the police. If that nose is a plus sign then they need to be put in prison indefinitely.

In fact, it’s probably time we clamped down on callous phone use in general: anyone who leaves a voicemail message should have to do six weeks of hard labour; anyone guilty of doing that iMessage “…” thing for ages then ultimately deleting the text needs to do litter-picking along a busy A-road; anyone who responds to a message longer than 20 words with a single “k” needs to be immediately deported. We have all this amazing, life-changing technology – we can watch movies on our phones, now! Hoverboards are almost real! – we just can’t really be trusted to use it properly. The only thing stopping us from evolving is ourselves.

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